I had a fantastic evening of owls and other creatures of the night between
6:30 and 10:00 last night.
I set out around 6:30 but didn't get lucky until an hour later. I stopped at
Brilyea and about 50 yards from the first parking area down the access road
I was able to call in 2 EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS (gray morph). I left my high
beams on and then played a recording. First one and then another bird made
an appearance, visible in the trees by the light of my car. Each time I
played the recording they would change their perches, on two occasions
coming quite close. All in all I was able to observe them for about 25
All the while, 2 GREAT-HORNED OWLS were calling from the stand of pines on
the opposite side of the creek.
After Brilyea, I stopped at the goose viewing area. Again using a recording
I was able to call in a SHORT-EARED OWL and actually got to view the bird
from underneath as it circled several times near my car. I didn't have the
presence of mind to record its barking as it flew back and forth, but I was
able to record a few barks after it settled a ways off in the field. Just
let me know, I'd be happy to forward this recording to folks as well...there
are even some restless Canada Geese honking in the background.
I then headed to Snake Mountain in the hopes of finding Saw-whets. I
couldn't turn up anything on the west side of the mountain (Mountain Road),
but I did have some wonderful encounters on the east side (Snake Mountain
Road). I pulled over at one spot and played a saw-whet recording a few times
over. I suddenly caught sight of something small fly in and alight on a
nearby tree...and then another, except this time, the flying object hit the
tree and then skittered up the trunk only to disappear in the foliage. The
air was active with twittering and here and there I could hear movement on
the forest floor. These clearly weren't saw-whets like I initially thought.
My growing suspicions were soon confirmed...a twittering arose behind me and
I turned my flashlight to a tree just on the other side of the road. There
was a little squirrel sitting on a branch and flicking its tail before
springing away into the darkness.
I believe I had my first FLYING SQUIRRELS (southern?) and perhaps roused
them with my owl recording.
Also while there I did have one SAW-WHET calling a little ways off, which I
managed a brief recording, and in some distant fields below a pack of
Coyotes were riling up the local dogs.
By the time I left Snake Mountain it was just after 9:00 and I figured I'd
put in another hour or so. At Mt. Philo State Park, I heard one SAW-WHET
tooting near the trailhead and a little further into the woods a shriek
betrayed a second bird.
On the way home I drove by Williams Woods in the hopes of making it a five
owl night...but unfortunately had no luck with Barred.
The night's total:
2 EASTERN SCREECH-OWL
2 GREAT-HORNED OWL
1 SHORT-EARED OWL
3 SAW-WHET OWL